Chapter

The Challenge of Revolutionary America

Peter J. Marshall

in Remaking the British Atlantic

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199640355
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199640355.003.0004
The Challenge of Revolutionary America

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In terms of power, the new America posed no threat to the British empire. Its republican principles were, however, seen as a challenge to the British political order. American republicanism was generally interpreted in Britain in terms of the early assertions of popular power within the states. These were dismissed as totally incompatible with the ordered liberty guaranteed by the balanced powers of the British constitution, whose strengths seemed to be vindicated in the political turmoil in Britain at the end of the war. A torrent of publications in newspapers and pamphlets, with some government encouragement, denounced American innovations and affirmed the virtues of British governance. After the war American political arrangements continued to be depicted as producing weak government subject to popular whim, at least until the results of the Convention of 1787 produced some reassessment.

Keywords: republicanism; British constitution; liberty; Constitution of the United States; Convention; newspapers

Chapter.  11247 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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